NEW STUDY TO BE UNVEILED FOR ADIRONDACK RAIL TRAIL
The next big step toward creating a 90-mile recreational trail between Lake Placid and Old Forge will be taken at a public meeting at 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11 at theHarrietstownTown HallinSaranacLake. Those interested in the recreational and economic development of the region are urged to attend.
A detailed plan prepared by the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) will be will be released and discussed for Phase One of the Adirondack Rail Trail—the 34-mile section of rail corridor connecting Lake Placid, Ray Brook, Saranac Lake, Lake Clear and Tupper Lake. The meeting will be open for questions and input from the audience.
Carl Knoch, who manages trail development for RTC, will present an on-the-ground, mile-by-mile analysis of the Lake Placid-Tupper Lake segment, detailing the costs and benefits of converting the rail corridor into a year-round, multi-use recreational trail. Based on similar rail-to-trail conversions in the Northeast, the study will show how the Adirondack Rail Trail will create jobs, stimulate business, and enhance the quality-of-life for Tri-Lakes residents.
“The Adirondack Rail Trail is an idea whose time is long overdue,” said Lee Keet, a board member of Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA), the citizen group that commissioned the study. “This largest American park outsideAlaskais famed for its thousands of miles of hiking and paddling trails, yet one recreational amenity is conspicuously lacking. Nowhere in theAdirondacksis there an easy, safe, level, compactly-surfaced, long-distance trail that links our communities, traverses our wild and beautiful landscapes, and can be enjoyed on a daily basis by people of all ages and physical abilities.”
According to ARTA, the new study will take account of data presented in recent reports by Stone Consulting and Camoin Associates, but it will build on these studies with a more detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of the Adirondack Rail Trail. “Based on experience elsewhere, the RTC study will provide compelling evidence that a rail trail through the heart of theAdirondackswill attract hundreds of thousands of users annually and generate many millions of dollars in new spending,” Keet said.
The Adirondack Rail Trail will cater to bikers, runners, walkers, athletes in training, families with young children, parents pushing baby-strollers, wheelchair users, nature lovers, and people enjoying regular exercise in a safe, serene setting—all well away from the hassle of road traffic. With the old rails removed and salvaged, the trail will also allow for greatly improved snowmobiling from December through March.
The costs and benefits of comparable rail-trail conversions are highlighted in the new study, including the Down East Sunrise Trail, Maine;Heritage Rail Trail County Park,Pennsylvania;Lamoille Valley Rail Trail,Vermont;Pine Creek Rail Trail,Pennsylvania;Northern Rail Trail,New Hampshire, andMerrymeeting Rail Trail,Maine.